Our online footprint

baby online footprintSomething I’ve been thinking about for a while now is our online footprint. When I was pregnant, I suddenly became aware of everything I said online and how I’d feel if my future child were to read it. (I think it’s safe to say that in fifteen years time, it’ll be very easy for teenagers to access everything their parents have ever posted online and use it against them.)

All those ‘Ughhh I’m so hungover I want to die’ tweets. The drunken photos on Facebook. That video of me dancing to Girls Aloud in the kitchen at my 30th birthday party. They’re just bound to come back to haunt me.

But more importantly, what about the online footprint that we’re creating for our children? Is it fair that without even being asked, they have photos posted of them, information shared and sometimes email account created on their behalf? The MummyTips blog posted some interesting statistics about this last week. According to a recent AVG study, “A third (33%) of children have had images posted online from birth and a quarter (23%) of children have had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the internet by their parents.”

I can just picture a whole generation of surly pre-teens slamming their bedroom doors, shouting ‘I HATE YOU, MUM!’ and all because they resent the number of embarrassing baby photos that are readily available online for their classmates to look at. That cute snap of them in the bath? Not so cute when it’s been printed off by some class trouble-maker, blown up and posted on the school pinboard.

I made a decision to not post photos of my daughter on Twitter, my blog, on Instagram or on Flickr. I only post photos of her on my Facebook account, which is private. I say private – it is, if you class 151 of my closest acquaintences as that. But I did have a Facebook ‘cull’ towards the end of my pregnancy, deleting around 200 people who I had nothing bad to say about, but who I just didn’t feel like sharing the details of my new family with.

Of course, I can’t really stop friends from posting photos of my child on their social sites, can I? (Unless I want to appear like an over-protective nutter.) So I guess my question is this: is there really a way of stopping your child from having an online footprint?

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6 Comments

  1. Hayley
    February 22, 2012 / 10:12 pm

    I don’t post images in the public domain of my boys for a number of reasons. In this day and age its quite frightening to think of how large the online footprint is for some children, a footprint they have had no say in making!

  2. October 11, 2012 / 9:16 am

    This is definite food for thought. I do post photos of my daughter, but I’m careful about the types of pics I put up. I have a rule regarding my blog and all social media platforms – if I wouldn’t write about it in a feature or talk about it on the radio, it doesn’t go on there. All photos I’m tagged in on Facebook are private, as are all my wedding photos etc. I think the whole issue of privacy is a tricky one – you can involve your kids in a blog as they get older, but who’s to say they won’t look back and cringe when in four years time?

    • notanothermummyblog
      Author
      October 11, 2012 / 9:22 am

      Hi Molly, thanks for your comment. That’s a good rule to have. I wrote this post over a year ago, and have thought about the subject lots since posting it. I love seeing kids on other blogs (yours included) and I’ve often wished I didn’t feel the way I do – I’d love nothing more than to post loads of fab photos of my gorgeous girl!
      I have had photos of my child printed in national parenting mags, when I’ve contributed to features, and I’ve asked myself why that is different, so it’s still a subject I’m wrestling with in my mind.

  3. Louise-Ellen
    October 11, 2012 / 9:20 am

    I think it’s a fine line between being a proud parent and wanting the world to see how gorgeous/talented/well-dressed they are (or muddy and sticky in my boys case), against wanting to protect them from any possible harm it could cause them in the future for having an online footprint. I used to use photos of them everywhere on my facebook/blog, but since last christmas that has stopped. I might use the occasional image of them from a great distance, or from side on/behind (where their faces are not particuarly visible) and I don’t use their real names anywhere online because its googling their names that will lead to any bullying with the use of images later at school for example. I also don’t post any personal status updates anymore, and I’m left wondering if actually I am being rather OTT about it all. I wrote about this on my blog too and to be hoenst I don’t know what is the wrong or right answer. We all try to do the best by our little’uns but I certainly think your doing a great thing!! X

    • notanothermummyblog
      Author
      October 11, 2012 / 9:30 am

      I remember when you disappeared from Facebook and Twitter! I don’t think it was an OTT reaction – like you say, we all just have to do what feels right. The world’s so different compared to when we were little. We just had some photo albums in a cupboard with faded snaps glued in!

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